Paul, Weiss is committed to providing impactful pro bono legal assistance to individuals and organizations in need across a broad range of constitutional, civil rights and other public interest matters.

Civil Rights

For decades, Paul, Weiss has been at the forefront of legal efforts to promote civil rights and equal justice.

Assisting Thurgood Marshall in the seminal U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, the firm’s lawyers were instrumental in the effort to end racial segregation. Today, we are a leader in nationwide efforts to secure equal rights for the LGBTQ community, advance racial justice, challenge restrictive voting laws, and protect the rights of prisoners and Americans with disabilities.

Below are some highlights:

LGBTQ Rights:

We have been involved in several of the most consequential cases in recent years involving LGBTQ rights. Below are some highlights:

  • Representing Edith Windsor, we won a landmark Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor, which led to the recognition of the constitutional right of same-sex couples to be married.
  • In 2015, as a result of our first lawsuit in Mississippi, a federal court ordered clerks across the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to LGBTQ couples. We successfully challenged Mississippi’s ban on adoption by lesbian and gay couples, the last of its kind in the nation, and are challenging a new Mississippi law, HB 1523, that authorizes discrimination against LGBTQ people based on “religious beliefs.”
  • On the local level, we serve the legal needs of the transgender community in cooperation with the Transgender Legal Defense’s Name Change Project. Our lawyers, in partnership with Bloomberg L.P., have represented dozens of transgender individuals in connection with their name change petitions.

Racial Justice:

We have been involved in several high-impact efforts to promote racial justice.

For example, we partnered with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and The Legal Aid Society in a successful lawsuit against New York City and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The suit, Davis, et al. v. City of New York, filed on behalf of more than 400,000 NYCHA residents and invited guests, challenged the New York City Police Department’s racially discriminatory policy and practice of routinely stopping and arresting NYCHA residents and guests without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Following two major rulings in our clients’ favor, we helped negotiate a settlement that significantly revises police practice and NYCHA house rules.

Additionally, following shootings by and of police officers that exacerbated relations between law enforcement and communities of color, we were tapped to lead the ABA’s Task Force on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System. We released a report in 2017 outlining best practices for community policing and building consensus for needed reforms.

Disability Rights:

We handle high-impact disability rights cases, including, most notably, an ongoing, decade-long litigation with the state of New York on behalf of thousands of mentally disabled adults confined in segregated, unsuitable and often abusive “adult homes” — state-licensed for-profit residential care facilities. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis has noted Paul, Weiss’s “outstanding and comprehensive advocacy.”

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